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WAW-RIX-WAW BT F50 + The City & Aviation Museum  
User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5188 times:

Introduction

First, when planning my trip to Riga I intended to take outbound on K2 and inbound on BT, so I could log two new types: AT4 and F50. Unfortunately, the time spread between the flights was insufficient to visit the city, so I decided to take both flights on BT instead. Luckily, the day when I was taking the trip, AT4 has already been in my log, as I managed to score it when completing my daytrip to Kraków, three days earlier. If interested, my report covering this trip can be found here: A Day In KRK Or How I Killed 2 Birds With 1 Stone (by SPLTA Jul 26 2011 in Trip Reports)
The booking was made on Air Baltic’s site three weeks prior to the journey. It was pretty annoying experience with a number of additional services keeping popping in and out throughout the process. I did, however, accepted one of the offers. Since I was determined to get a window seat I decided to fork out extra 5 € each way for “seat request”, especially that the seat map showed only handful of window seats opened. I chose 07A both ways.
I did OLCI the day before the trip. It was irritating experience once again, as I was forced to answer some irrelevant questions regarding registered luggage (I was travelling with hand luggage only) to complete the process. Additionally, it took free attempts to successfully save boarding passes. Oh, and it turned out that miraculously plenty of window seats became available, so I needn’t have paid for “seat request” when booking the flights. 10 € expenditure didn’t ruin my finances, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth. On the other hand, there might have been some last minutes annulations.

WAW-RIX
Flight. no. BT468 (first time on the carrier)
Gate: A1
SDT - SAT: 0750-1030 (+1 hour time difference)
A/C type: Fokker 50 (first time on the type)
A/C reg: YL-BAU
Seat no. 07A

I arrive at the airport at 0650 and head directly to the security in the older part of the terminal. There are no lines whatsoever, so am through in no time. I check the FIDS and take a stroll to gate 26.


I have no intention to buy anything on board, so I pay a visit to the nearby retail and buy a bottle of Coke Zero. The boarding commences bang on time at 0720. I am one of the first to go down to the awaiting bus. Unfortunately, not all passengers bother to meet the boarding time, so I spend over 15mins in the cold interior. Finally at 0740 the driver starts the engine and after short ride he pulls in at much welcome YL-BAU.


I am greeted at the door by a young male purser. There are some newspapers available, but there is no single Polish title, I believe. Soon I take my seat with the view of the wheel.


The seat pitch is pretty cramped, as expected.



Interestingly, there are still couple of passengers standing in the aisle when the purser informs the captain that the boarding has been already completed. Then we are given a welcome speech in Latvian and English. We are also informed that our flight is predicted to last 1h40mins. When all passengers are finally settled in their seats, the manual safety demo in Latvian and English is performed. The engines are started at 0750 and we commence our taxi to the RWY33. Sitting on the wrong side of the cabin I cannot see the number of aircraft ahead of us, but there must be quite a line, as it takes really long to reach the active. Once almost there the captain comes over the PA advising us that we have to wait additional 3mins, as we are second to take off plus there is one airplane to land. Soon we finally take off.
Some 10mins into the flight the BOB service begins, but I don’t even bother to check the menu card. The skies are totally covered by thick layer of clouds as we are flying above north-eastern Poland.


The interior definitely is showing its’ age. Seats themselves look pretty good, the upholstery is clean and not too worn out. The old style overhead control panels are in a really bad condition, though. Aside of the yellowish colour, the elements seem not to have been fixed too precisely and it feels like they are to fall off any minute. There are some glue stains around cheap looking seat number stickers. It all adds up to an overall gloomy impression.


Later I reach for the magazine, and skim over the article on Budapest, the destination recently added to Air Baltic’s route map. It would be nice to visit Hungarian capital one day, especially if taking flight(s) on MA’s 736.


Having waken up at 0500 I feel a bit sleepy, so I decide to take a short nap. I cannot make myself comfortable enough, so I take a look outside instead. No clouds whatsoever anymore, so enjoy the views. The vast rural areas are dominant with only couple of towns to be seen, as we are cruising above Belarus and/or Lithuania.




Soon the announcement is made advising us that we are to land in Riga in 20mins. This is followed by information regarding gates numbers for the connecting flights. Interestingly, it is also given in Russian.
After performing the 180 U turn over Gulf of Riga, followed by the truly scenic approach above the Baltic Sea beaches, we land on RWY18 at 1040 LT. The weather is really great, it is sunny, about 30C.


Goodbye YL-BAU, hope not to see later in the evening.

While entering the terminal building I quickly snap the picture of this rare aircraft stopping by at RIX en route to JFK.


Riga

Once landside I first go to the exchange. Expecting the rates at the airport to be less preferable than the ones in the city I decide to buy only small sum of local currency, the Lat. Then I head to the Tourist Information where I buy the 24 hours public transport ticket and obtain a complimentary city map. To get to the public bus stop one has to cross the parking lot first.


When on the bus I have a chat with two young Polish girls that have been sitting behind me on the plane. It turns out they have a 12 hours layover in Riga. Then they take late evening onward flight to Tbilisi. I am surprised to hear they are not coming back from Georgia by air. They intend to travel by hitchhike, visiting Armenia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia on the way back home. There are some traffic jams en route, so it takes a bit longer to reach the city centre than expected. Once there, I bid the girls farewell and wish them good luck. I need some more local money, so first I step inside the nearest exchange to learn that rates are noticeable worse than at the airport. Then I start exploring the old town.











The Latvians (as many other nations in the region, including Poles, though not to such an extend) seem to be very proud of their independence. Hence when visiting the city one can admire impressive Freedom Monument, honoring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918–1920); a humble monument commemorating Latvian children deported to Siberia or visit the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.




Ironically, Russian language is still dominant on the streets of Riga. It’s not only commonly used by older people, the youngsters seem not speak Latvian (or use it as first language) as well. I know there is a reasonable (ca. 30% of population, I believe) Russian minority in Latvia, but it feels like the proportions were the other way round.

After a couple of hours stroll around the historical centre it is high time to find some place to eat. I decide to try the Steiku Haoss restaurant. The place resembles TGI Friday’s or Jeff’s restaurants a bit.


The heat and two beers I have had to the meal make me feel a bit lazy. I don’t feel like walking anymore. It seems I have seen all the major attractions anyway, so I decide to get back to the airport and visit the aviation museum prior to departure.

The Aviation Museum

When reaching the place I ring the bell and wait. Soon the man wearing shorts and flip flops shows up at the gate. He takes the 5 Lat note from me and lets me in. The museum is more like a junkyard with various aircraft and equipment scattered all over the place. Some exhibits are in a really poor condition. They are squeezed on a relatively small area and it’s not easy to take decent photographs, as many of them are blocked out by the other.







RIX-WAW
Flight. no. BT463
Gate: A1
SDT - SAT: 1905-1945 (-1 hour time difference)
A/C type: Fokker 50
A/C reg: YL-BAU
Seat no. 07A/11A

It’s 1750 when I decide to go to the security. When airside I hang around the retail area and then go to the gate. I get there well in advance, so I have a chance to observe boarding of BT317 to Tallinn, as well as BT339 to Helsinki at the neighbouring gate A2.
No air-condition there, so the place is really hot and stuffy. Interestingly, the restroom is air-conditioned though. I sit at the gate for a while, but soon gets thirsty, so I take a walk back to the main part of the terminal where I get rid of the last Lat coins buying a bottle of water and a bottle of Coke Zero. When back at the gate the boarding of both flights is almost completed.


The YL-BAO goes to TLL, while its’ sister ship hidden behind flies to HEL this evening.


When the boarding begins I am one of the first to leave the gate as I hope the awaiting bus to be air-conditioned. It is not the case, luckily the opened doors located on both port and starboard produce a natural air circulation. Soon the doors are shut down and we take a relatively short ride to the aircraft. I count 22 persons on the bus, so the LF amounts to nearly 50 %. When getting off the bus I am disappointed to see it is YL-BAU to take us to Warsaw.


With such a light load the boarding is completed in a matter of couple of minutes. After a longer while the captain comes over the PA informing us that we are waiting for three more passengers. He says he knows it’s pretty hot in the cabin, but things are going to get better once he starts the engine. Some 5mins later there is one more announcement from the cockpit advising us that the missing passengers are to board in 3mins. Soon the bus pulls in at the aircraft. There are no passengers to be seen, but the agent holding some papers in her hand. She boards the plane, passes the papers to the FA and then quickly gets back to the bus. It’s 1905 when the captain starts the engines. Next the welcome speech is given, followed by a manual safety demo. We leave the stand moving backwards using our own power. After a relatively short taxi to RWY18 and a powerful, rolling take off pretty soon we are airborne.


About a quarter into the flight the BOB service begins. I don’t buy a thing, but when the FAs stop next to me I ask if I could possible change the seat. "No problem" is the answer, so as soon as they disappear with the cart in the galley I move to seat 11A. The seat behind me is empty, so I decide to recline. It feels not so cramped now.


Nothing to be seen outside, as it is cloudy throughout the flight.


I kill the time reading “Polityka” magazine borrowed from co-passenger sitting on the other side of the aisle. I have a lot of laugh seeing this drawing, referring to the recent plans to reintroduce passport controls on internal EU boarders.


The caption could be translated as: "This is not passport control. We just want to get to know you better within the frames of the European Integration."
The rest of the flight is uneventful. We land on RWY15 about 1945 LT, performing the most gentle touchdown I have ever experienced. Having a very light load this evening the Fokker needs less than half of the runway to slow down. Next it backtracks and leaves the active using exit opposite the terminal building. After a short while it stops at the nearby remote stand. I say goodbye to the purser and disembark.


It’s a short bus ride to the terminal building. Couple of minutes later I find myself at the bus stop in front of the arrival hall. The next bus departures in 3mins and some half an hour later I am back home.

Conclusions

It was a pretty enjoyable and successful day trip. The main goal was achieved, as I managed to log the F50. I was a bit unlucky to get the same example on the outbound and inbound flights, though.
As for the Air Baltic, I found their website not too user friendly. Both booking and checking were somewhat frustrating experience, so not so good first impressions. The personnel seem to be the company’s asset. All the cabin crews encountered were friendly and professional. I also liked the fact that the captains on both flights kept us well informed. No complimentary meals/drinks were offered, but it is not a problem on such a short flights, in my opinion. Although YL-BAU is a well dated aircraft, that is probably scheduled to leave the fleet soon, I believe it really needs some additional maintenance works.
Riga with its’ well preserved old town is pretty interesting place to visit. In my opinion, the city lucks the character, though. I think I liked Vilnius better for its’ (more) lively atmosphere.
The Aviation Museum was a real letdown. There was plenty to see, but given the condition of the exhibits and the way they were displayed, the 5 Lat admission fee was a rip off, imho.

I hope you enjoyed reading this report. Your comments, questions etc. are much appreciated.

Best regards,
SPLTA

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinen272wa From Ireland, joined Jun 2007, 410 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5124 times:

Witaj Michal  

Again, a great TR - I enjoyed reading it - just a couple of points:
1. Was that a Tunis Air parked at WAW? Is that a scheduled or charter service to Tunisia?
2. I agree - the interior of the BT F50 looks gloomy indeed, especially those stuck on seat numbers!
3. Loved the shot you grabbed of the Uzbekistan Airways at RIX - what a really nice livery!
4. Great pics of Riga that you got! Looks pretty nice to me. I have never been, I might combine it with a stop off elsewhere someday soon!
5. Unlucky that you got YL-BAU on both segments...better luck next time for your trip to CDG  

Dziekuje bardzo,
Do widzenia, trzymaj sie,
Mike  



Next: (EI)DUB-ORD-DUB, DUB-EWR-IAH-DFW-MSY-AUS-AMA-DEN-EWR-DUB
User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 720 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5076 times:

Hi SPLTA,

nice report about your trip to Riga. I have also booked a flight on the BT Fokker 50 later this year (will also be my first ride on that type) so it was really interesting to read about it. Just a shame you got the same reg twice on that day, but well, can't do anything about it. Also nice pictures from Riga, the old town there is really nice.

CaptainRed


User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27325 posts, RR: 60
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 5069 times:

Hey very nice report and pics . Didn't know Uzbekistan Airways landed at RIX . Do you know if they have traffic rights from RIX-JFK? That would be a nice route  


Thanks for the report.

OA260  


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5020 times:

Hi, M.,

good to follow you´re new story about BT and Riga, well done. I personally ike the city pics, been there a couple of years ago and so it feels really good to see it from you´re point of view.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
A/C type: Fokker 50 (first time on the type)

Congrats, twice!.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
ted as: "This is not passport control. We just want to get to know you better within the frames of the European Integration."

Hah, a good laugh for me, too.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: London City connections!.
User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 4915 times:

Hi guys,

Quoting n272wa (Reply 1):
a great TR - I enjoyed reading it
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 2):
nice report about your trip to Riga.
Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Hey very nice report and pics
Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
good to follow you´re new story about BT and Riga, well done.

Thank you all for the compliements. I'm glad you liked it.

@ Mike,

Quoting n272wa (Reply 1):
Was that a Tunis Air parked at WAW? Is that a scheduled or charter service to Tunisia?

Yes, it was Tunis Air. They don't have scheduled flights to WAW, so it must have been a charter. I see them quite often at WAW, so I think they do them on regural basis.

Quoting n272wa (Reply 1):
I agree - the interior of the BT F50 looks gloomy indeed, especially those stuck on seat numbers!

Well, they should have done it more precisely. It's a really nice aircraft, but the interior looks quite shabby, imho.


Quoting n272wa (Reply 1):
Loved the shot you grabbed of the Uzbekistan Airways at RIX - what a really nice livery!

As much as I love 763s, I find this livery too colourful.

Quoting n272wa (Reply 1):
Great pics of Riga that you got! Looks pretty nice to me.

Pretty nice place to visit. Plenty of interesting architecture.

Quoting n272wa (Reply 1):
Unlucky that you got YL-BAU on both segments...

Well, it happened for 2nd or 3rd time to me. With 10 examples in BT's fleet I was really unlucky that day.

Quoting n272wa (Reply 1):
better luck next time for your trip to CDG

Thanks, I hope so!

@ CaptainRed

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 2):
I have also booked a flight on the BT Fokker 50 later this year (will also be my first ride on that type)

It seems to be the latest chance to score the type, I think you're gonna like it.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 2):
but well, can't do anything about it

  

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 2):
Also nice pictures from Riga, the old town there is really nice.

Thanks. As mentioned, really good choice for a short visit. I had a great weather for sightseeing, too.

@ OA260

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Do you know if they have traffic rights from RIX-JFK?

AFAIK, unfortunately, no traffic rights for RIX-JFK-RIX sectors.

@ Markus

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
I personally ike the city pics, been there a couple of years ago and so it feels really good to see it from you´re point of view.

I remember we talked about it when you were in Warsaw. I encountered only one stag party - like team during my short stay. I was there on weekday, though.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
Congrats, twice!.

Thank you! Do you mean taking first flight on Air Baltic and F50? Of these two, logging F50 was definetely more valuable for me.

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 4):
Hah, a good laugh for me, too.

Yeah, I know. It reminded me of Suryo's ordeal on the way back from FRA meeting.

Thank you all for reading and the comments.

Best regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6943 posts, RR: 77
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4763 times:

Hi SPLTA,

very nice report with good pictures! Nice to see the pictures are centered!

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
When getting off the bus I am disappointed to see it is YL-BAU to take us to Warsaw.

That's too bad!

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
a bottle of Coke Zero

Do you also prefer that over the Diet Coke?


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6672 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4751 times:

Hi !

Nce report with nice pictures ! Too bad you flew the same aircraft on the way back. Riga looks nice but the aviation museun looks very disappointing.

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offline717Flyer From Finland, joined Jun 2011, 303 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4735 times:

Hi SPLTA
and thanks for another nice report  
Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Since I was determined to get a window seat I decided to fork out extra 5 € each way for “seat request”, especially that the seat map showed only handful of window seats opened. I chose 07A both ways

I can understand paying for seat selection on carriers that do not offer online check-in. Thinking, that some seats may be blocked until check-in, I wonder why you picked that additional service.
Anyway, it's good you gave BT some revenue - they badly need it right now!

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
did OLCI the day before the trip. It was irritating experience once again, as I was forced to answer some irrelevant questions regarding registered luggage (I was travelling with hand luggage only) to complete the process

Interesting. I've done that only while checking in online on my Blue1 flight EDI-HEL a month ago. There, security questions as well as passport information was asked. That was however understandable, as I anyway was going to go trough passport control after my flight.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Some 10mins into the flight the BOB service begins, but I don’t even bother to check the menu card.

Why? I have found interesting items in their BOB selection for pretty good prices (not everything is cheap though).

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
There are some glue stains around cheap looking seat number stickers. It all adds up to an overall gloomy impression.

By the way, did you notice a nasty smell inside the cabin? That's something I recall from my F50 flights.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Later I reach for the magazine, and skim over the article on Budapest, the destination recently added to Air Baltic’s route map. I

Then you need to be quick - I read somewhere that many routes, including BUD, will stop operating (at least for the winter) in the end of October this year.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
I buy the 24 hours public transport ticket

How much did it cost?

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
I have a chance to observe boarding of BT339 to Helsinki at the neighbouring gate A2.

Carrying Mr FlyingFinn, by any chance?  
Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
I count 22 persons on the bus, so the LF amounts to nearly 50 %.

What was the load like on the inbound flight?
Let's see what suitable equipment BT can operate into WAW after the Fokker 50's are gone.

Riga does seem nice and beautiful - I still haven't managed to visit the city during my layovers in RIX.

Bye,
717Flyer


User currently offlineSultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1789 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4734 times:

Hi there Michal,

Nice to read your story on your daytrip to Riga. And congrats on logging the Air Baltic F50, I'll be logging one of those in 2 weeks time if things go well.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
It was pretty annoying experience with a number of additional services keeping popping in and out throughout the process.

Same with for example booking on EZY, you have to click yourself a way through the whole rental car, hotel, prio boarding,...

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Oh, and it turned out that miraculously plenty of window seats became available, so I needn’t have paid for “seat request” when booking the flights.

I had the same on FlyBE, paid for the seats in advance but most probably there would've been plenty of good seats available when doing OLCI.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
It all adds up to an overall gloomy impression.

That's not too good...

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
While entering the terminal building I quickly snap the picture of this rare aircraft stopping by at RIX en route to JFK

Nice one. Strange routing though.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
When getting off the bus I am disappointed to see it is YL-BAU to take us to Warsaw.

 

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
The main goal was achieved, as I managed to log the F50.

  

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
I hope you enjoyed reading this report

I certainly did!

   Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineROGERBCN From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4687 times:

Hola SPLTA!

I truly enjoyed your report about your trip to the beautiful Latvian capital. Really nice pictures.

It is really disappointing to have the same plane twice in a day; it has happened to me on several occasions, especially on the BCN-ZRH-TXL route, sometimes even the crews were the same.

Those F50s are neat planes, great to catch them.

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4618 times:

Hello,

nice to see some more comments!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
very nice report with good pictures!
Quoting The777Man (Reply 7):
Nce report with nice pictures !
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
thanks for another nice report
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 9):
Nice to read your story on your daytrip to Riga.
Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 10):
I truly enjoyed your report about your trip to the beautiful Latvian capital. Really nice pictures.

Thank you all for your kind words.

@ PH

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
Nice to see the pictures are centered!

I try to pay attention to the lay out. Personally, I don't like reading "messy" reports, in which text and/or pictures don't fit in the original width of the frame, if you know what mean.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 6):
Do you also prefer that over the Diet Coke?

Diet Coke, what's that?   

@ The777Man

Quoting The777Man (Reply 7):
the aviation museun looks very disappointing.

It felt as if I had stepped back in time, visiting the place shortly after the colllapse of the USSR. The aircraft on display would have been in better condition, though.

@ 717Flyer

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
I wonder why you picked that additional service.

I was afraid that all window seats would be already gone by the time when doing OLCI.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
Why?

I decided that I had given BT enough revenue having neddlessly paid for "seat request".

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
By the way, did you notice a nasty smell inside the cabin?

Yes, I did. It resembled the smell of still a bit damp, not completely dried up textile.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
Then you need to be quick - I read somewhere that many routes, including BUD, will stop operating (at least for the winter) in the end of October this year.

It's MA, I would like to fly to BUD on, with the hope to log 736. Since Malev is sending all possible equipment to WAW, it'd be a rather risky venture, though.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
How much did it cost?

1.90 Lat. Single ticket costs 0.70 Lat.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
Carrying Mr FlyingFinn, by any chance?

Unfortunately, not. It would have been nice to meet Mr FF, but the chances were slim, as it was the weekday.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
What was the load like on the inbound flight?

It was about 60-70 %.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
Let's see what suitable equipment BT can operate into WAW after the Fokker 50's are gone.

Unless BT purchases some smaller aircraft, it is going to be Q400s, I guess. They are not so rare visitors at WAW nowadays.

@ Sultanils

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 9):
And congrats on logging the Air Baltic F50, I'll be logging one of those in 2 weeks time if things go well.

Thank you. I hope you will post a report on this trip. It'd be interesting to read about your impressions. Good luck!

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 9):
Same with for example booking on EZY, you have to click yourself a way through the whole rental car, hotel, prio boarding,...

Have no experience with U2, FR and alikes, but I can imagine it's even worse when booking typical LCCs' flights.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 9):
had the same on FlyBE, paid for the seats in advance but most probably there would've been plenty of good seats available when doing OLCI.

I have promised myself not to pay for the seats anymore, unless flying on carrier with free seating policy.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 9):
Strange routing though.

I don't know. The 763 has no range to fly from TAS to JFK nonstop and RIX seems to be the right place for a refuelling stop + they have traffic rights on TAS-RIX-TAS sector.

@ ROGERBCN

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 10):
It is really disappointing to have the same plane twice in a day; it has happened to me on several occasions, especially on the BCN-ZRH-TXL route, sometimes even the crews were the same.

Things happen. Unfortunately, there's nothing we could do about it.

Quoting ROGERBCN (Reply 10):
Those F50s are neat planes, great to catch them.

  

Thank you all for reading and the feedback.

Best regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlineeco From Bulgaria, joined Nov 2010, 84 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4554 times:

Hi Michal,

Nice trip report.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
It was pretty annoying experience with a number of additional services keeping popping in and out throughout the process.

It's nothing compared to jet2.com and their web site.

Best regards,
eco


User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4489 times:

Hello eco,

Quoting eco (Reply 12):
Nice trip report.

Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Quoting eco (Reply 12):
It's nothing compared to jet2.com and their web site.

So you are saying that nothing compares to jet2. I think Prince & Sinead O'Connor would disagree.  

Thanks for reading and the comment.

Regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4423 times:

Hi SPLTA!

Nice tripreport, made my evening!

Was fun reading this since i got a very similar experience when flying ARN-RIX-ARN during the easter holidays. I did also get the same reg on both legs, although a much newer aircraft, the Dash-8 YL-BAH.
But the Fokker 50 is an aircraft I wish to fly before it leaves the european skies, I'm not to worried though I still got JZ and ofcourse BT flying it in my area.

I have kinda regretted that i missed visiting the aviation museum, but after reading this report I'm not to worried! But if I would ever change my mind, Riga is always a short flight away!

I kinda liked the city of Riga, but after reading that you prefer Vilnius maybe i'll pay that city a visit some time too!

Martin


User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4311 times:

Hi Martin,

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):
Nice tripreport, made my evening!

Thanks, nice to hear you enyoyed it.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):
I'm not to worried though I still got JZ and ofcourse BT flying it in my area.

You are lucky with two airlines around still operating the type.


Quoting deltamartin (Reply 14):
I kinda liked the city of Riga, but after reading that you prefer Vilnius maybe i'll pay that city a visit some time too!

I liked the city of Riga, too. However, I had found Vilnius, with plenty of people occupying city squares and tea gardens, more vigorious place.

Thanks for your feedback.

Best regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4268 times:

Nice trip report, really should make it up to RIX one day.   Looks to be a very good city.


Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2500 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4236 times:

Hi SPLTA,

Very nice report. Thank you for enlightening us about BT. Definitely valuable information about the website and their important assets, the cabin crew members!  


Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Oh, and it turned out that miraculously plenty of window seats became available, so I needn’t have paid for “seat request” when booking the flights

Annoying!

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
I quickly snap the picture of this rare aircraft stopping by at RIX en route to JFK.

Great catch. Does Uzbekistan have fifth freedom rights from RIX to JFK?

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
They intend to travel by hitchhike, visiting Armenia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia on the way back home

I wish them good luck as well.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
the nearest exchange to learn that rates are noticeable worse than at the airport.

Good to know that. Thanks.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Interestingly, the restroom is air-conditioned though

Did the restroom tend to be busy by the time you were there? 


Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
There are no passengers to be seen, but the agent holding some papers in her hand

Hmm, could the three have been denied boarding?

Thanks again for sharing.

Best wishes,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4158 times:

Hi guys,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 16):
Nice trip report,
Quoting akhmad (Reply 17):
Very nice report. Thank you for enlightening us about BT

Thank you, glad you liked it and found it informative, too.

@ Suryo

Quoting akhmad (Reply 17):
Annoying!

and educational, as well.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 17):
Great catch. Does Uzbekistan have fifth freedom rights from RIX to JFK?

No, I don't think so.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 17):
I wish them good luck as well.

A long way ahead of them. I hope they' ll get safely back home.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 17):
Did the restroom tend to be busy by the time you were there?

Haha. Not really.

Thank you for reading and the comments.

Best regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlinemakeree From Finland, joined Dec 2009, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3989 times:

Hello SPLTA !

Just read your TR and thanks for sharing it !
Riga seems to be a place worth of visiting, been just doing some
transfers at RIX.
Last summer I had my first experiences of BT's Fokker 50's and it seems to
be ok but for a tall guy like me, I prefer having the next seat empty.... 

Greetings,

Markku


User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3875 times:

Hi Markku,

Thanks for reading and the comment.

Quoting makeree (Reply 19):
Last summer I had my first experiences of BT's Fokker 50's and it seems to
be ok but for a tall guy like me, I prefer having the next seat empty....

Yes, the seat pitch is small. Luckily, I had empty seat next to me both on my outbound and inbound flights.

Best regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 21, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3809 times:

Hi M,

Slowly catching up on these reports. Thanks for this nice one about your daytrip to Riga. Very interesting to read someone else's opinion on BT and RIX - something which I'm far too jaded to form an honest opinion!  
Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Since I was determined to get a window seat I decided to fork out extra 5 € each way for “seat request”, especially that the seat map showed only handful of window seats opened. I chose 07A both ways.

That's a complete rip off. There's really no need to do that with BT, almost nobody will pay for seat selection (just fly FR from RIX and you'll understand why - even the 4 EUR for priority boarding is way over most people's budget!) so with OLCI you'll pretty much always guarantee yourself a window seat. The only thing I'd use it for is if you really need an exit row seat for a long flight like the ones to Caucasus etc.

Then again as a BalticMiles VIP member I do get the seat preselection for free, so I just select something and usually pick up a far better seat when doing OLCI.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
It was irritating experience once again, as I was forced to answer some irrelevant questions regarding registered luggage (I was travelling with hand luggage only) to complete the process.

You can thank the UK Aviation Authority for that - they require these ridiculous questions to be presented when checking in for a flight ex-UK (next time when doing a manual check in in the UK, check the desk, you'll see a printout with the same questions). BT obviously chose the "one size fits all" policy and presents these questions to all passengers.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
On the other hand, there might have been some last minutes annulations.

Highly unlikely. They just block those seats for some reason - maybe to lure people to pay for the seat selection.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
There are some newspapers available, but there is no single Polish title, I believe.

Yeah, this is something that annoys me quite a bit. The usual spread of newspapers is just some Latvian papers, both in Latvian and Russian. Sometimes they have the Baltic Times in English which is a pretty good rag and VERY rarely they have local papers, like Finnish ones when departing ex-HEL etc. Then again the lounge at RIX has a far better selection  .

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):

Interestingly, there are still couple of passengers standing in the aisle when the purser informs the captain that the boarding has been already completed.

Well, that's perfectly fine. "Boarding completed" means just that - all the pax have entered the plane, but not necessarily settled down yet. It's actually more a directive to the cabin crew to get prepared to close the doors, perform pax count etc. duties than to the captain for commencing the startup procedures.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Seats themselves look pretty good, the upholstery is clean and not too worn out.

How was the cabin smell? Most of the BT Fokkers smell quite bad inside, I'm pretty sure those seats are rotting on the inside!

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
as we are cruising above Belarus and/or Lithuania.

I don't think the route takes you that far east to cross over Belarus. More like Kaliningrad and Lithuania.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
I quickly snap the picture of this rare aircraft stopping by at RIX en route to JFK.

Yep, that's always a highlight of any connection at RIX at a suitable time.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
To get to the public bus stop one has to cross the parking lot first.

This is a scam by the airport authority to try to get tourists to use the more expensive shuttle buses and taxis by hiding the public bus stop a bit further away - unless you do your research before the trip it's not very intuitive to find, and the taxi drivers will for sure tell you that there's no bus...

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
Ironically, Russian language is still dominant on the streets of Riga. It’s not only commonly used by older people, the youngsters seem not speak Latvian (or use it as first language) as well. I know there is a reasonable (ca. 30% of population, I believe) Russian minority in Latvia, but it feels like the proportions were the other way round.

Yeah, there are certain places where Russians are the vast majority (try visiting Daugavpils one day!) and Riga is quite heavy on them as well. Of course this has brought lots of social problems and unrest, but let's not go there this time.

BTW do you speak Russian?

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
decide to try the Steiku Haoss restaurant.

What do you know - I ate at that restaurant during my first visit to Riga back in 2003! Good to see it still going strong. Did they still have that faux pas cowboy decoration?

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
The museum is more like a junkyard with various aircraft and equipment scattered all over the place. Some exhibits are in a really poor condition.

It's a shame that they don't have money to build a proper museum or at least a shelter for the planes - there are some interesting ones in the collection, but this way they will probably rust away in the next five years or so.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
No air-condition there, so the place is really hot and stuffy.

That A-gates bunker is really a dump. The only good feature is the pizza place which does some good pizza.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
also liked the fact that the captains on both flights kept us well informed.

Interesting. I find that especially the older generation captains on BT are usually very silent and don't offer much information. These are the guys who probably were flying already in the Soviet times, either for the Air Force or one of the Baltic directorates of Aeroflot so I guess they have inherited certain manners from those times...

The younger flight deck crew, many of whom seem to be from Scandinavia are usually much better in this regard.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
YL-BAU is a well dated aircraft, that is probably scheduled to leave the fleet soon, I believe it really needs some additional maintenance works.

In a surprise move BT recently announced that the Fokkers will already be withdrawn from service at the end of this summer season, i.e. at the end of October.

That brings with it a lot of problems - hence a good number of route cancellations and reductions for the winter season. Also if the carrier happens to survive, the summer 2012 season will be interesting as they will need a LOT of additional capacity to operate to the extent they have in the few previous summers. There has been talk about acquiring additional Dashes, but the question is where to get funding for them - the Latvian state isn't exactly very happy right now having ponied up the money to pay for the current Dashes...

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Do you know if they have traffic rights from RIX-JFK? That would be a nice route

Nope, no rights, which is a bummer.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 8):
Interesting. I've done that only while checking in online on my Blue1 flight EDI-HEL a month ago. There, security questions as well as passport information was asked. That was however understandable, as I anyway was going to go trough passport control after my flight.

Well, that's the UK regulations and API requirements.


User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3758 times:

Hello FF,

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Thanks for this nice one about your daytrip to Riga. Very interesting to read someone else's opinion on BT and RIX -

Glad to hear you found it interesting.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
That's a complete rip off. There's really no need to do that with BT, almost nobody will pay for seat selection (just fly FR from RIX and you'll understand why - even the 4 EUR for priority boarding is way over most people's budget!) so with OLCI you'll pretty much always guarantee yourself a window seat. The only thing I'd use it for is if you really need an exit row seat for a long flight like the ones to Caucasus etc.

I have learnt my lesson and I won't pay for the seat selection when booking BT flights in the future.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
You can thank the UK Aviation Authority for that - they require these ridiculous questions to be presented when checking in for a flight ex-UK (next time when doing a manual check in in the UK, check the desk, you'll see a printout with the same questions). BT obviously chose the "one size fits all" policy and presents these questions to all passengers.

Thanks for giving the insight. It'd be nice if BT recognized the passenger whom the questions do not apply to.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Highly unlikely. They just block those seats for some reason - maybe to lure people to pay for the seat selection.

It was exactly my thought when I saw "updated" seat map while doing OLCI. As said, it was the first and the last time I paid for "seat request" when booking BT flights.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Well, that's perfectly fine. "Boarding completed" means just that - all the pax have entered the plane, but not necessarily settled down yet. It's actually more a directive to the cabin crew to get prepared to close the doors, perform pax count etc. duties than to the captain for commencing the startup procedures.

It's first time I heard the FA saying it that early, so I found the situation quite unusual.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
How was the cabin smell? Most of the BT Fokkers smell quite bad inside, I'm pretty sure those seats are rotting on the inside!
Quoting SPLTA (Reply 11):
It resembled the smell of still a bit damp, not completely dried up textile.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
I don't think the route takes you that far east to cross over Belarus.

You are the expert.   I was wondering if we were overflying Kalliningrad Enclave or Belarus before entering Lithuanian air space. Now I know I came to false conclusions. Thanks for correcting me!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
This is a scam by the airport authority to try to get tourists to use the more expensive shuttle buses and taxis by hiding the public bus stop a bit further away - unless you do your research before the trip it's not very intuitive to find, and the taxi drivers will for sure tell you that there's no bus...

So it seems. It's strange that the public transport bus stop isn't located directly next to arrival hall's exit.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
BTW do you speak Russian?

Almost every Pole aged 30+ thinks he/she does.   Seriously, I have learnt Russian for 3 or 4 years when in primary school. It hasn't been tested ever since, but I believe, I still can say I speak Russian a little. I am familiar with the grammar, know a bit more than just the basic words and have no problems with reading the Cyrillic alphabet.


Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
What do you know - I ate at that restaurant during my first visit to Riga back in 2003! Good to see it still going strong. Did they still have that faux pas cowboy decoration?

Really? That's funny coincidence! I was sitting outside, so I can't say much about the decoration. They did play some country music, though.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
That A-gates bunker is really a dump. The only good feature is the pizza place which does some good pizza.

So are the bus gates in many other airports, I believe. As for the pizza, it must be really good, I saw the place was packed.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Interesting. I find that especially the older generation captains on BT are usually very silent and don't offer much information. These are the guys who probably were flying already in the Soviet times, either for the Air Force or one of the Baltic directorates of Aeroflot so I guess they have inherited certain manners from those times...

The younger flight deck crew, many of whom seem to be from Scandinavia are usually much better in this regard.

The captains I encountered during my flights represented the second group. They were a rather talkative types.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
In a surprise move BT recently announced that the Fokkers will already be withdrawn from service at the end of this summer season, i.e. at the end of October.

I wasn't aware of that. Now I am really happy I didn't postpone my F50 mission until winter season.

Thanks a lot for your comments.

Best regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4277 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3674 times:

Hi, M.!

Really nice to read your latest story from RIX and the museum. You have included some pretty good pictures from the city, the nice weather which comes with you on that day shows good colours. I've not been to the Baltics yet, but these city pics make me interesting. One advise though, it seems you need to clean the sensor of your DSLR, some dustspots are visible.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
It was pretty annoying experience with a number of additional services keeping popping in and out throughout the process. I did, however, accepted one of the offers. Since I was determined to get a window seat I decided to fork out extra 5 € each way for “seat request”, especially that the seat map showed only handful of window seats opened.

Ah yes, this is always on any carrier it seems. I don't bother to pay for it anymore, unless I really want to have a good seat on especially longer sectors.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
A/C type: Fokker 50 (first time on the type)
A/C reg: YL-BAU

Congrats on the F50. I heard BT is retiring these Fokkers later this year.

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
I arrive at the airport at 0650 and head directly to the security in the older part of the terminal. There are no lines whatsoever, so am through in no time.

Seems not too many other people like the idea to wake up that early to catch a flight...  
Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
The interior definitely is showing its’ age. Seats themselves look pretty good, the upholstery is clean and not too worn out. The old style overhead control panels are in a really bad condition, though. Aside of the yellowish colour, the elements seem not to have been fixed too precisely and it feels like they are to fall off any minute. There are some glue stains around cheap looking seat number stickers. It all adds up to an overall gloomy impression.

Agreed. Cityjet's (ex VLM) F50 examples are in much better state of interior, with nice leather seats also. Maybe give them a try someday?

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
It would be nice to visit Hungarian capital one day, especially if taking flight(s) on MA’s 736.

Scheduled to do so here next month... 4 legs booked on MA, incl the 736 (but known to mix with the other types also)

Quoting SPLTA (Thread starter):
When getting off the bus I am disappointed to see it is YL-BAU to take us to Warsaw.

Bummer! But... you decided to be tripreporter, and this is part of the deal   We all have those moments...

NIce report... looking forward to the upcoming stories!

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3556 times:

Hi Eric,

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 23):
Really nice to read your latest story from RIX and the museum. You have included some pretty good pictures from the city, the nice weather which comes with you on that day shows good colours.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 23):
I've not been to the Baltics yet, but these city pics make me interesting.

Having been in Vilnius last year, it was my second time to the region. I have found both cities really nice. They seem not to have been destroyed during the Second World War, so there's pretty much to see.
Both visits were interesting for me also for one other reason. Although the Baltics were much different to the rest of the USSR and it's been 20 years since the countries regained the independence, it was interesting to notice (very few) relicts of the Soviet era, such as some old trolleybuses in Vilnius, the arrival hall at VNO or the Riga aviation museum experience.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 23):
One advise though, it seems you need to clean the sensor of your DSLR, some dustspots are visible.

Thanks for advise. I hope not to forget to do it prior to my next trip.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 23):
Seems not too many other people like the idea to wake up that early to catch a flight...

I think it's more because I was in the older part of the terminal. I bet the security in the new part was pretty crowded, considering it was the time of the morning bank of departures.

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 23):
Scheduled to do so here next month... 4 legs booked on MA, incl the 736 (but known to mix with the other types also)

Sounds interesting. Good luck with getting 736!

Thanks for the feedback.

Best regards.
SPLTA


User currently offlineParton87 From Sweden, joined Sep 2008, 533 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3407 times:

Hello SPLTA!

Thanks for the nice story! It seems that you have some nice flights with BT. I have flown on the F50 many times and always enjoy a ride with it. It´s a nice little aircraft!
I´m also like the pictures from Riga. It looks like a nice city.

Thanks again!

Greetings
Robert


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